How Would You Like to Run Combats in
Half the Time that Tell Twice the Story?
My Wizard of Combat Online Program
for Tabletop RPG Game Masters Shows You Exactly How to
Design and Run Epic Combats that Take Half the Time
While You Fill Them to the Brim With Amazing Storytelling.
For Any Game System
(D&D, Pathfinder, Fate, Savage Worlds, OSR, Dungeon World, Gumshoe, Genesys, PbtA, and more)
For Any Genre
(Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Modern, Mythical, Superhero, Historical)
For Any Play Style
(Roleplay light and heavy, Grid and Theatre of the Mind)
(Available Online 24/7,
Downloadable, Lifetime Access)
Hola Roleplaying Tips Game Master!
If an hour goes by and you’re still on round three, you know your players are bored. You’re bored. And everybody’s frustrated. Why can’t this grindy thing go faster!
Instead, everyone should look forward to your melees and rub their hands in glee when you shout for initiative.
If your fights finish fast and surprise with smashing story, your group will crown you King of Combat!
I invite you to level-up your combats and battle-telling prowess with me by using my Wizard of Combat system.
Combats That Take Too Long Kill Games
Here is why I'm so passionate about helping you make your combats flow and sing.
I remember a combat so terrible it killed an entire campaign for me.
We were mid-level, stuck in the Underdark, crawling through a cavern of twisty passages.
Suddenly the GM demanded initiative rolls and we were in combat.
The encounter was terrible. It had no story or fulfilling purpose.
As with most bad combats, we were forced to fight to the last hit point.
And thanks to the crappy CombatScape and slow player turns, the battle took two agonizing hours.
That was time wasted accomplishing nothing. The foes were dumb but had so many hit points we had to keep whacking them until they went down.
Roll attack. Do damage. Move a few feet. Repeat.
And not just repeat once. Repeat for two mind-numbing hours.
So...we finally win....and…
...Moments later trigger another long, boring, meaningless, terrible combat!
I couldn't believe it. An entire session in the toilet because of unending slugfests.
I excused myself from that campaign and never looked back.
So here's the thing, I don't want this to happen to you. I don't want your players to quit out of pure frustration over terrible combats.
Instead, we want our players cheering and hollering and chucking their dice around with glee as each round gets everyone dying to find out what happens next (pun intended!).
A Killer GMing System For Creating & Running Awesome Combats
The bad news: game systems out-of-the-box do not help us run fast fights.
For example, they've made retreat in D&D 5E hard to pull off well. And they doubled monster hit points from previous editions.
Therefore, the game itself trains players to fight to the last hit point.
So the dice are stacked against you from running fleet fights from the start!
If you don't have the right GM moves, you're screwed. You either avoid combats altogether or resign yourself to hours of repetitive, toe-to-toe hacking.
And I'm seeing advice out there that doesn't really help much.
Take for instance a classic tip circulating on Reddit is to roll attack and damage dice at the same time.
Technically, this saves just a few seconds.
But you lose the awesome dramatic storytelling effect when the party knows a character has hit and eagerly awaits the damage roll to see if their foe falls.
It really does only save seconds, and that's not going to get you anywhere close to reducing combat time by half.
Another approach I worry about a lot is GMs handwaving the rules for sake of speed.
Combat especially needs a consistent player experience, because strategy, tactics, and most importantly teamwork, need a solid foundation of reality your players can trust every round.
If combat rules become optional, then players can't plan or think ahead. They stop trusting the game.
And you actually force combat to take longer because your group must wait for each arbitrary decision.
A final example of ineffective advice I'm seeing out there is giving each player a countdown. Some GMs hold up a hand and count down one finger at a time. When the thumb's gone the player loses their turn.
This definitely motivates players to plan their move ahead. And many feel it reproduces the chaos of combat well.
In my experience though, this penalizes a lot of players.
Not everyone thinks fast on their feet.
And if your combat descriptions are limp, or if the complexion of the fight changes with the previous player's turn (and you do want that effect often for awesome pacing and story spikes) players need more details to make good decisions.
Your players will feel robbed if forced to take action with questions unanswered.
The stakes are life and death, after all.
My Wizard of Combat system does encourage timeboxing player moves, but only when combined with other easy GM techniques so the game you present to every player is exciting, challenging, and fair.I've learned that if we approach combat a certain way, we'll cut time by half — or more — and amp our storytelling up every round.
Here's How Wizard of Combat Works
The good news: This is what my Wizard of Combat program shows you exactly how to do.
It's a complete system that will take you from long, boring, meaningless fights to pulse-pounding, speedy, and thrilling combats that'll have your players biting their nails and on the edge of their seats every time.
What you get after following this complete and simple system is combats that take half the time and have twice the story.
You get players who don't flinch or groan when you ask for initiative.
And best of all, you'll turn grinding, flavorless combats into incredibly exciting encounters that make your adventures truly wondrous.
That's our goal. Combats are not the purpose of your game. Telling amazing stories is.
And dramatic combats that are meaningful and personal to your players — every pulse-pounding round — will become an ally for you to make your stories epic.
And with Wizard of Combat, you will be at the top of your game. Confident, in control, having a ton of fun with your friends.
If We Haven't Met Yet...
My name is Johnn Four and I am the founder of RoleplayingTips.com. I have been publishing award-winning books, courses, and a newsletter for game masters for 21 years.
I've authored work for TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and several other game companies. I was a contributor to the D&D 4E Dungeon Master's Guide II. My best-selling game master books and courses have won awards and been rated 5 stars at DriveThroughRPG.com.
I believe becoming a great game master helps us become better people. It challenges us because there's always something new to learn and some way to improve. We make the world a better place by helping players — and ourselves — de-stress and have more fun at every game.
Here's What You Get in the Wizard of Combat Program
The Wizard of Combat online program will teach you effective combat design, how to make your combats flow like a story, how to make players go faster, and how to quickly assess combats for constant improvement.
Alongside me, you will learn how to become a Wizard of Combat who can run speedy rounds and tell a rousing story at the same time.
I use the Teach => Show => Do framework so you learn the theory, see it in practice, and put it to immediate use.
I teach you something.
Then I show you how to do it.
Then you do it, asking me questions in the Campaign Community along the way if you need help.
With the Wizard of Combat program, you will get:
Please note: My Wizard of Combat System will work for any game that has rules for initiative, attacks, defense, and health.
It also works for any kind of adventure, whether combats are a big feature of your game or you run them as infrequent dramatic moments meant to serve a plot point.
Bonus Loot For You
To help you become a Wizard of Combat, I have four pieces of Bonus Loot for you.
Each Bonus Loot is designed to help you run better, smoother, faster, and story-filled combats:
Bonus Loot #1: D&D 5E Combat Course
It helps a lot if you have specific examples of the Wizard of Combat principles in action.
This 25 lesson walkthrough shows you to apply the Wizard of Combat strategies, tactics, and methods through the lens of Dungeons & Dragons 5E.
If you run 5E then this is a goldmine of specific tips and tricks you can directly apply next session for amazing fights.
If you run other game systems, then you'll see how to analyze, understand, and leverage a game system so you can apply it yours.
As part of the beta, I'll be releasing a new Faster Combat D&D 5E lesson every two weeks starting in July. Soon, you'll be a Wizard of D&D 5E combat.
Bonus Loot #2: The Original Faster Combat Course
This course focuses entirely on speed.
Build faster combats to run.
Run combats you've built faster.
Speed up player turns, monster turns, and your whole table every round.
You will get access to all 52 lessons that go deep into actionable speed factors to help you cut your combat times in half.
Plus, you will get the entire Faster Combat as a PDF book for easy reading.
Bonus Loot #3: Legendary Combat Swipes Book
Combats are tricky beasts. In addition to the number crunching, tactics, and rules lore, you’re expected to be entertaining.
Well have I got a great tool for you.
Combat swipes are hundreds of colourful combat descriptions you can use during combat to create awesome blow-by-blow descriptions.
I’ve compiled over 250 read-aloud combat action descriptions for you into one slick PDF you can download immediately as a Wizard of Combat.
No more boring combat descriptions!
Bonus for the bonus: I've put every description into a random generator for you. Click a button and get awesome combat detail.
Bonus Loot #4: Live Zoom Q&A Chats
I'll schedule two Zoom Q&A chats with me to cover any and all questions you might have.
We can tweak your encounters, get you unstuck for ideas, or tackle issues specific to your gaming group.
Calls will be recorded and downloadable so you can reference them at any time.
And you can submit your questions in advance if you can't make a call. I'll answer your questions and send you the recording link.
A Limited Time, Special Deal as You Unlock the Secrets to Faster Combats with Glorious Stories and Become a Wizard of Combat
Please allow me to help you level-up your combats.
I want to show you how to combine masterful design and storytelling with graceful table operation so you can wow your players with new and exciting melees.
The Wizard of Combat program is currently in beta production.
I will be releasing new lessons on a schedule throughout 2021 and getting your feedback as a beta member to help me improve the program ongoing.
Because you'll see a few under construction signs, I want to give you a discount as thanks for your understanding and help.
The price when Wizard of Combat leaves beta in 2022 will be twice as much.
So by investing in your GMing today, you will be getting a huge 50% discount.
And remember, you'll get all the bonuses and lifetime access. So you'll get every update and improvement, plus the final polished program, for life.
The complete Wizard of Combat program today is only:
US $67 Beta Access
One-Time Payment Only
Free Updates & Add-Ons
Follow at Your Own Pace
90 Day Critical Fumble Guarantee
My Critical Fumble Guarantee
As with all my products, I fully stand behind my work.
So if I roll a 1 for you, and you don't get any value out of my Wizard of Combat program, email me anytime within 90 days and request a refund.
I won't put you in a hard spot and ask why you want your money back, that's always uncomfortable and weird. So I'll just refund you with no questions asked and we'll stay friends. Cool?
There's no risk to you now. Get the Epic Adventure Building Game Plan knowing if you aren't satisfied you always have the option of a full refund.
As a player, I'd really come to dread when roleplay would stop and the combat wargame would start. As a GM, many combat encounters in modules made no sense because there was no fathomable reason for there to be a combat there, other than because it was a place for one.
Everything started to seem formulaic and sort of pointless.
I signed up for Wizard of Adventure with Faster Combat as a bonus which I initially ignored because I wasn't really interested in combats as their own end.
Faster Combat turned out to be much more useful than I'd anticipated.
I began reviewing The Lost Mine of Phandelver and Dragon of Icespire Peak starter adventures with these tools in mind for keeping combat awesome, and found that they are excellent at helping focus the prep time I have.
My approach was to treat each lesson as a checklist, and mentally review each combat encounter in the module against those steps to see if what was on the page would serve, what could get me in trouble, and what I might need (or want) to mess with to make it my own before running it.
This also helped get all of the things together that I needed to run each combat confidently, as well as keep an eye on things during the encounter to make sure it stayed fun and not lose the plot or point that keeps it fun.
After my first couple of encounter reviews like this, I realized that as a GM I was having more FUN prepping than I'd had in decades, because the prep wasn't just "okay, what CR and stat block blah blah blah."
It was more imagining tactics and setbacks and counters and various ways things could play out.
Being able to enjoy the combat that way before it even ran was something I'd forgotten about from the long gone days of AD&D.
Working through the recommendations also gave me a ton of session tools like trackers and dashboards to help lighten the load in the moment which, to me, probably became the most important thing.
Getting bogged down in combat starts with GM overload with as complex as these games have become, and having prep that gets you ahead of the overload leaves more brain time to *play the game* with everyone in the moment.
Overall, I thought prepping starter adventures with these tools would be a good trial by combat and I feel like I was right on. Most importantly for me, I think I've found the way back to having combats themselves be as much fun as the rest of the game again.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can be any level of game master to benefit from this course.
New GMs will be guided through a complete system that generates their first homebrewed adventures.
Experienced GMs will get a clever system they'll soon master to create 5 Room Dungeons, full adventures, complete campaigns, and fantastic encounters in short order for one-shots, campaigns, and gaming conventions.
That is fantastic! I wish I had your talent to do this. 🙂
That said, I tend to improvise many combats because you never know what your players will do until game night.
In Wizard of Combat, I focus on principles and tactics that show you how to think the game and story of combat better. You then can easily apply these skills to improvised encounters like I do.
For example, once you learn how to build awesome CombatScapes, you can do that via preparation or on-the-fly. The ideas, principles, and benefits of CombatScapes apply equally to both.
So too it is with the other tools, methods, and techniques I'll show you in the comprehensive program.
No problem! Sessions will be recorded and you'll have access to them afterwards.
You can also send me your questions in advance and I'll answer them for you during the Q&A that you can listen to later from the recording.
Yes! Based on your feedback in this beta phase, I'll continue improving the course.
And you'll get free access to all future updates, add-ons, and new content.
You're getting lifetime access today.
Good question. At the end of the round, that's a question for you to answer.
I know bad combats will kill campaigns and frustrate you and your players.
When I buy stuff for my hobby, I'm looking for maximum value and re-use.
With Wizard of Combat, you'll be gaining life-long skills that serve any game system, campaign, and adventure type.
You'll also be getting lifetime access to upgrades and add-ons. This is a one-time investment.
And your players will be amazed at your new combat-fu and thank you for being an awesome GM.
I know I value that a lot.
This program is self-paced. I'll be releasing new content throughout 2021 to you.
Once the beta version is complete, you'll have every module, lesson, and tool at your instant disposal.
When you assess your sessions and unearth a new pain point, you can go into the program and find the specific solution or treatment to apply.
You can also review and study the lessons as many times as you like.
I think the best approach is to Watch => Learn => Do. Learn at your own pace, trying out each system and method, gaining combat mastery as you go.
With so much free content online, I never saw myself paying for extra D&D resources.
But after getting so much out of Johnn's free Roleplaying Tips newsletter, I knew that his advice was always imaginative, clever, and written in bite sized chunks that I could actually put to use right away.
That made me feel a lot better about buying the Faster Combat course.
And it really delivers!
Each lesson there's a new building block to use, or a new way to think about running your game, that transforms combat from a dice-fest to dramatic, exciting action.
My players and I are all having more fun at the table, not to mention we're getting through way more of my labyrinthine homebrew plot hijinks.
On top of all that, the course is laid out in a really practical, easy to digest format, and having access to the message boards with Johnn and other DMs is a great bonus.
Get Access to Johnn Four's Wizard of Combat Program
US $67 Beta Access
One-Time Payment Only
Free Updates & Add-Ons
Follow at Your Own Pace
90 Day Critical Fumble Guarantee
Image Credits: Some artwork © 2015 Vagelio Kaliva, used with permission. All rights reserved. Other fantastic art on this page was supplied by Cerebus Art and Jack Holliday.